【Video】Giant Horses Help Little Girl With Autism Excel Against the Odds

When Sarah Porath learned her daughter, Annabel, had a rare chromosomal disorder, she mourned the dreams she'd cherished during her pregnancy. But at 5 1/2, the eldest of the Porath's children is walking and talking, and doing many of the things other kids her age are up to.

Because even though Annabel has autism in addition to isodicentric 15, the rare disorder that caused a portion of her 15th chromosome to duplicate, the little girl has had what's known as hippotherapy to help her along the way. In other words? This girl so tiny her mom calls her a peanut rides horses.

And as the Poraths showed CafeMom Studios, its changed the course of her future. Check her out!


Perched on top of the stately beast, moving around a ring, Annabel's body has moved the way it would if she were propelling herself. Her hips are shifted the way they would if she were actually walking. And little by little, she's being taught a form of muscle memory that has enabled her body to overcome muscular difficulties of her disorder and excel against the odds.


Good news for Annabel, but good news for thousands of other special needs kids too. Turns out hippotheraphy is a 30-year-old discipline that doesn't just help kids with autism or isodicentric 15, but kids with learning disabilities, cerebral palsy and a handful of other issues.


2012.5.26 The Stir